Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has announced a $2 billion fund to help homeless families and create preschools in low-income communities, after he asked for suggestions on approaches to philanthropy last year.
According to a statement issued by Bezos on 13 September, the Bezos Day One Fund will begin with a commitment of $2 billion and focus on two areas: funding existing non-profits that help homeless families, and creating a network of new, non-profit preschools in low-income communities.
The Day 1 Families Fund will issue annual leadership awards to organisations and civic groups working to provide shelter and hunger support to address the immediate needs of young families, while The Day 1 Academies Fund will launch and operate a network of Montessori-inspired preschools in underserved communities.
In his statement, Bezos says he will build an organisation to manage the preschools, using the same principles that have driven Amazon:
“We will build an organisation to directly operate these preschools. I’m excited about that because it will give us the opportunity to learn, invent and improve. We will use the same set of principles that have driven Amazon. The most important among those will be genuine, intense, customer obsession. The child will be the customer.
“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” And lighting that fire early is a giant leg up for any child.”
The fund is named after Bezos’s Day 1 philosophy. According to Bezos, companies should always retain the Day 1 mentality, which means keeping the drive and focus of a start up: concentrating on pleasing the customer, on results rather than process, and being fast to make decisions and embrace trends.
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